Using apply the UCAS on-line application system

Using apply the

  UCAS on-line

application system


  St Augustine’s Catholic College


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The ‘apply’ program on the UCAS website is used for nearly all full time courses in higher
education.

The exceptions are:

l    A few Foundation degrees at FE colleges
l    Some performers’ courses at drama and dance schools
l    Some foundation years

For some institutions you have to fill out a second form as well as a UCAS form:

l    Oxford and Cambridge
l    Liverpool Institute of performing arts
l    East 17 Acting School (University of Essex)

In order to be able to use ‘apply’ you will need

l    The current school buzzword
l    Internet access
l    To be able to pay online using a credit or debit card (charges are £7.00 for one
     choice, £17.00 for two or more)
l    To have talked through your ideas with your tutor, including showing her/him your
     draft personal statement

Log on to the UCAS website www.ucas.com to register for ‘apply’. You will need to
provide some answers to security questions and will be issued with a user name and
password. Make sure you keep a note of these: you will need them every time you access
the ‘apply’ program.
Note: you have to provide an email address that you access regularly – and remember to
check it.



                            Completing the form
Most sections are easy to complete and there is a help button in each section.
However, here are some of the most frequently asked questions, or most frequently
made mistakes section by section!


Personal details

Student Support: for most of you the fee code is 02 LEA. Use the drop down menu to
enter the name of your local council.
If you are applying for nursing, midwifery and similar courses you may be funded by the
NHS, in which case the fee code is 05 DH.




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If you have a criminal conviction it is important that you read right through the advice
given in Help so you know if you will have to declare anything.
Disability/special needs covers things like dyslexia and may give you access to extra
help and funding. Don’t ignore it.


Additional information

Activities in preparation for higher education, refers to recognised summer school
courses, or Aimhigher activities.


Courses

There is no order of preference here; your entries are automatically sorted into
alphabetical order. Each university only sees its entry; they don’t know where else you
have applied.

The question marks will lead to alphabetical lists which will select codes for you.


Education

This is probably the most difficult section!
Centre numbers for other schools can be found by clicking ‘search’.
St Augustines is 66643.

You need to have full details of your qualifications. You will need to enter:

l    GSCE/GCSE Double Awards/Short Courses/other qualifications (AIDA etc) with
     results.
l    GCE Advanced subsidiary (AS) including all the units with results.
l    GCE Advanced Level to be taken, including all the A2 units, results will be ‘pending’.

Don’t forget music exams and other qualifications you may have.


Employment

For employers name enter the name of the firm not your manager, short address ie
name of town and county will do.




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Personal Statement

You have up to 47 lines in Courier New point 12.
The program will convert any other font types or sizes to this.
There is no spell check, so it is advisable to cut and paste from Word!

You must also show your personal statement to your tutor before entering it in the
form. It is also a good idea to get a variety of other people you trust to read it for you
– but don’t let them write it for you.
DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO ‘BORROW’ BITS FROM OTHER PERSONAL STATEMENTS.
UCAS RUNS ALL STATEMENTS THROUGH PLAGIARISM SOFTWARE BEFORE
SENDING THEM TO THE UNIVERSITIES.

Simple, clear, precise language is the key.
Clicking ‘help’ leads to a very useful article on what to include.
It is crucial to save regularly if you are typing the statement in directly because if you
leave the computer for a while UCAS will time you out. (Best to compose in Word, see
previous note about spell check).


Once the form is finished

As you complete each section you will be asked to click ‘section finished’.
Once all the sections are complete click on ‘send to referee’. At this stage you will be
asked to pay. The form will then go to the Sixth Form Secretary who will add in the
reference. At this stage the Head of Sixth/Assistant Head of Sixth and Sixth Form
Secretary will give the forms a final proofread. If the form is completed correctly it
will be sent on to UCAS. If there are any errors, the application will be returned to you
for correction.

Please ensure that you meet the college deadline so that sufficient time is allowed for
your application to be processed.


What is an admissions tutor looking for?

l    Appropriate academic qualifications
l    A good reference
l    A good personal statement




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Useful dates
Mid September
Apply forms can be sent to UCAS.


1 October
School guide date for applications to Oxford, Cambridge, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary
Medicine.


15 October
UCAS closing date for Oxford, Cambridge, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine.


1 December
School guide date for all other applications.


15 January
UCAS closing date for applications.


After the form has been sent

UCAS will send you a welcome pack by post soon after your form arrives. This will
include your UCAS reference number and password enabling you to follow the progress
of your application and to reply to offers using ‘track’.




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Getting started with your personal statement

These pages are designed to help you get together all the information you could include
in your personal statement. You can then use this as a starting point for your first
draft.


What makes a good personal statement?

l    Enthusiasm, wider reading …..personal
l    Careful research … individuals who understand and show motivation for the course
     of their choice
l    An element of reflection and analysis really makes the difference to the application.
     It’s not what you’ve done but how you think about what you have done.


About the course/subject

l    What do you enjoy about the subject?
l    Why do you want to study it in more depth?
l    Mention careers plans
l    Show evidence of research
l    Courses attended/field trips


Work Experience

l    Part time employment?       Work experience?
l    Analyse your duties
l    Tutors want to see reflection
l    Highlight transferable skills


Extra curricular activities

l    Evidence of self-motivation
l    Volunteer work
l    Activities outside of school/college
l    Positions of responsibility
l    Sports, hobbies and interests
l    Gap Year plans
l    Hurdles you have overcome




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Course Choice
Remember, as a rough guide; use at least half the personal statement to write about
your chosen course.
Why have you chosen this course?
What interests you about this subject area?
What specific topics do you enjoy and why?
Career Path
Do you know what career path you want to follow?
Give details
How does the course tie in with your chosen career?
Have you had any relevant work experience?
Personal achievements and responsibilities
Add in any details where relevant, which you could include in your statement
Have you been a prefect?
Have you been a member of your school council?
Are you involved in peer counselling or mentoring?
Have you completed the Duke of Edinburgh
Award/Ten Tors?
Have you helped to organise any events, for
example a fundraising event?
Have you taken part in school assemblies or
helped with open days?
Extra-curricular activities
Add any details where relevant, which you could include in your statement
Do you play a musical instrument?
Are you a member of a choir, an orchestra or a band?
Do you play any sports?
Have you represented your school or other
organisation in a sport?
Have you represented the school in any other way?
Have you been involved with any dramatic productions?
Are you involved in any charity or volunteer work?
Do you have any other hobbies?
Have you been on any relevant visits, for example
to art galleries for art courses or hospitals for nursing?
Anything else?
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Key words and terms to use in your personal statement.

In addition:        In addition to my work experience I have also gained valuable skills
                    through ….
As well as:         As well as my involvement in coaching I am also keen to participate
                    in ….
Reinforce:          My involvement in the community voluntary programme has
                    reinforced my decision to ….
Strengthen:         My decision to take a degree in politics has been strengthened by
                    my success in my A level course.
Furthermore:        Furthermore, I am particularly suited to …. because of …
Besides:            Besides my involvement with sports, I am also involved in…..
Not to mention:     Being involved in the voluntary work programme, not to mention my
                    work experience, has allowed me …..
More recently:      Although I have taken part in … more recently I have decided to …
Enabled me:         The opportunity to play in the school netball team has enabled me
                    to ….
Provided me with:   The work experience provided me with an opportunity to ….
Opportunity to:     The opportunity to work with people was provided by ….

Power Words

 Achieved                     Communicated                       Co-ordinated
 Delivered                    Determined                         Experienced
 Identified                   Improved                           Introduced
 Investigated                 Learned                            Managed
 Obtained                     Participated                       Performed
 Planned                      Prepared                           Proposed
 Provided                     Reorganised                        Supervised

Initiating

 Designed                     Developed                          Devised
 Directed                     Established                        Formulated
 Initiated                    Innovated                          Motivated
 Negotiated                   Organised                          Originated

Troubleshooting

 Implemented                  Improved                           Initiated
 Inspired                     Instigated                         Interpreted
 Introduced                   Investigated                       Recommended



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Words to describe yourself

 Adaptable                   Ambitious                         Analytical
 Compassionate               Confident                         Conscientious
 Co-operative                Courageous                        Creative
 Determined                  Efficient                         Energetic
 Expressive                  Faithful                          Flexible
 Hopeful                     Imaginative                       Innovative
 Inspiring                   Knowledgeable                     Loyal
 Optimistic                  Persistent                        Practical
 Reflective                  Sincere                           Tactful
 Tolerant                    Trustworthy                       Unassuming
 Versatile                   Warm                              Witty

Top Tips for Writing Your Personal Statement

 Plan Ahead       Think about your personal statement in advance so that you have
                  gathered experiences or read widely around your chosen course
 Write Clearly    Write accurately and clearly – one sure way to be rejected is to
                  have spelling and grammar errors in your statement and have
                  sentences that do not make sense
 Be motivated     Come across as interested in your chosen course at university
 Seek advice      Get advice about writing your statement – but not so much that it
                  confuses you as people can make different comments about the
                  statement – each equally valid
 Listen           Let others read the statement – they can check it is clear and
                  persuasive
 Be positive      Sell yourself without lying. Make the most of the activities you
                  have undertaken and materials you have studied
 Redraft          Expect to complete several drafts of your statement
 Keep it simple   In most cases your statement will include reasons for choosing
                  your course and a few details about you. Not all statements will
                  equally balance these two features, but in most cases, these form
                  the basis of an effective statement. It is the quality of the
                  reasons, depth and detail of the information provided, authenticity
                  and, finally, clarity of the writing that makes a statement
                  persuasive.

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Your skills

It is a good idea to mention any skills that you have gained through your work experience
or extra-curricular activities and give examples of when you have used them. Your
work experience or hobbies may not always seem to be directly relevant at first, but you
will have used and developed important skills that will be valued by universities. You
should mention skills that are related to the course, in addition to more general skills.

Use the section below to note the skills you have and examples of where you have used
them. To help start you off, an example is provided.

Skill                              Examples
Communication skills               Dealing with customers face to face and over the
                                   phone when working weekends at
                                   Marks and Spencer.


Organisational skills


Working as part of a team


Leadership skills


Using Information Technology


Creativity


Problem solving


Communicating in another
language


Negotiation skills


Anything else?
Consider specific skills
relevant to your course




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DO                                      DON’T
Plan it first                  Start with “I’ve always wanted to study …”
Sell yourself                  Sound boastful
Be honest and sound natural    Try to be funny or controversial
Type in Word 12 pt, then cut
and paste. Check spelling!     Use repetitive language
Proof read and get someone
else to proof read             Leave it to the last minute




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Application checklist

Stay on track with your UCAS application by using this checklist.

Research stage
¨   Speak to your teachers, career advisers, family and friends about what you want
    to do next.
¨   Decide on the course you want to study.
¨   Check whether you need to have done some work experience to apply for the course.
    This can be a requirement of many courses, such as teaching, medicine or social
    work.
¨   Find out if you need to take any tests as part of your application process. For
    example, some universities may require you to sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test to
    apply for a medical or dental degree.
¨   Identify universities that you want to go to, narrowing your selection to between
    5 and 10.
¨   Research the universities using the websites and prospectuses. Speak to anyone
    you know who has been there.
¨   Visit the universities and/or attend open days.
¨   Decide on your five final university choices.
¨   Decide if you want to take a gap year.

Application stage
¨    Write your personal statement.
¨    Register online at www.ucas.com/students/apply. Your school or college will give
     you a ‘buzzword’ that you will need to enter during the registration process.
¨    You may wish to view the guided tour of the application form at www.ucas.com/
     students/apply. This takes you through the different stages of the form.
¨    Complete the application form. You can save your form and return to it at a later
     date, so you don’t need to fill it all out in one sitting.
¨    Submit your application form before the deadline. It is important to get your
     application in early, so try to submit it at the beginning of the UCAS cycle in
     September.


Post-application stage
¨    Prepare for and attend any interviews you may be invited to by universities.
¨    If you don’t receive any offers from universities, make further applications as
     appropriate using UCAS Extra. You can find information about this on the UCAS
     website.
¨    After receiving decisions from the universities, confirm your firm and insurance
     choices.
¨    Submit your forms for the HE maintenance grant and student maintenance loan.
¨    If needed, apply to university through Clearing in August. This is for students who
     have not secured a place at university for the current year.




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UCAS Convention Preparation

Action Plan

Before arriving at the convention, make a list of the institutions and organisations in
which you are interested and from whom you would like to find out further information.

 Institution                    Stand No      Questions and discussion points




At the convention, record the things you need to do as a consequence of the answers you
receive to your questions:

 Action                                                                       By when




At the convention, identify HEIs that you should now arrange to visit, either independently
or on open days:

Open days I wish to attend include:




You will find more help with preparation for the convention and beyond in the Connexions
publication Getting In, Getting On . Your tutor should be able to photocopy exercises
and help you record the outcomes of your HE research.




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UCAS Research Check Sheet

     Name .......................................................................   Tutor Group .......................

     A levels


     Institutions/UCAS no          Name                                             Courses of study (BA/BSc etc)           Course code        Course Title


     1


     2


     3


     4


     5




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     Looking at each institution check on the following information                  Comments after attendance at the open day


     Institution       Requirements        Open day        Attending                    Overview of course                   Location (including       Accommodation
     No                                                                                                                      distance from home)       (including cost)
     1                                                                                 1


     2                                                                                 2


     3                                                                                 3


     4                                                                                 4


     5                                                                                 5



     Please indicate if you intend to take a Gap Year            YES/NO
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